With the Tigers losing Thursday night to the Angels, the White Sox find themselves just 3 games back of first place. After taking 2 of 3 from the Tigers in the previous series, the White Sox look to take on the other colored Sox from the AL East in a three game series starting Friday.
I feel surprisingly optimistic about this three game series. Now, some would say that feeing optimistic is something every White Sox fan should feel when they face the Red Sox as they have swept Boston in Boston already once this year, and have fared pretty well against them over the past few years. But with a team that can put up runs the way the 2011 Red Sox can, any series with them is always scary. Looking over the 3 games though, I do like the pitching match-ups to favor the Sox from Chicago a little bit over the ones who reside in Boston.
Game 1: Wakefield vs. Floyd
Tim Wakefield has always had his troubles with the White Sox in his career posting a record of 3-9 with an ERA of 5.29 over the past 10 years against them. Wakefield has also struggled as of recent. In his last 5 starts he does have a record of 2-1, but he has posted an ERA of 7.06.
Gavin Floyd, on the other hand, has owned the Red Sox in his career. He is undefeated against them with a record of 5-0 with a very nice ERA of 3.83. Floyd has been fantastic in his time since the All-Star break as well as he has just given up 1 earned run in his 15 and 1/3 innings pitched since then.
Game 2: Lester vs. Humber
Lester has been lights out as of late. Over his last 3 starts he is 1-0 with an ERA of 0.55. The one thing that I can hopefully hang my at on, as far as my optimism goes for this game, is that over Lester’s career against the White Sox he holds a 2-3 record with an ERA of almost 6 (5.94)
Humber has not pitched in some time. He has had just about 2 weeks off from being in the starting rotation. When he pitched against Boston earlier this year he went 7 and 2/3 innings giving up 4 runs. If you remember that start though, he only gave up 1 run until the 8th inning when he got into some trouble, and Ohman came in and let Humber’s runners score. Overall, that start was very impressive for Humber. As of late, though, Humber has not been good allowing 10 runs in just 9 1/3 innings.
Game 3: Miller vs. Buehrle
The Red Sox young lefty has a decent 4-1 record on the year, but his ERA is a not-so-impressive 5.45. In his last few starts he is 1-1 with an ERA at 9.00. He was roughed up a bit in his last start against the Royals but receiving a no-decision.
What else can be said about Mark Buehrle that hasn’t already been said? He is having a great season record wise at 8-5 and a very impressive 3.22 ERA. In his last 3 starts Buehrle has gone 2-0 with an ERA under 1 (0.86). He is on that remarkable streak of not allowing more than 3 earned runs as well. Right now it stands at 15 straight starts.
I will never expect a sweep of a team in any series, especially against one of the hottest teams in the MLB right now. But from looking at the match-ups, I would really think taking 2 of 3 from the Red Sox in Chicago is not that tall of an order to dish out. With the trading deadline being Sunday, I think the first 2 games of this series could be important if Detroit wins both of their games. In the grand scheme of things though, every series is going to be important from here on out with the Sox fighting for first place with, seemingly, the entire AL central.